Archive for January 13th, 2008


Edmonton, we have a problem….

January 13, 2008

Every barrel of oil produced from the Albertan “oil sands” requires:

  • The razing of virgin Boreal Forest or Boreal Wetlands* and scraping it clean (up to an area the size of Florida is under consideration)
  • The scooping up of 2 tonnes of soil
  • OR the subterranean steaming and extraction of 2 tonnes of soil, using 2-4 barrels of water and 1000 cubic feet of natural gas **
  • Washing of the sand, requiring 2-5 barrels of water, of which 90% cannot be returned to the river afterwards ***, and 250 cubic feet of natural gas to heat the water **
  • The creation of 2 barrels of toxic waste; wastes from the processes are known as tailings — contaminated water, sand, clay and residual bitumen – are stored in large ponds to settle, ponds large enough to be seen from space with the naked eye, are highly toxic, and include in them compounds of naphthenic acid, alkyl-substituted polyaromatic hydrocarbon, and leftover aphtha and paraffin, all long-lasting and do not breakdown and cause serious health damage to mammals and avians****
  • .17 tons of carbon produced (or more), equivalent to driving the average sedan 850 miles/1360 km
  • Extensive upgrading: The oil, more accurately called Bitumen, is the absolute worst grade of “oil” there is available, involving yet more amounts of water and natural gas to produce steam for hydrocoking and hydrocracking – intense processes that break the bitumen into smaller lighter molecules, and remove impurities such as nitrogen and sulphur that are off gassed
  • It’s not all roses for those working it either.

    * where, btw, the lynx live, and one of the main lungs of the planet, representing 25% of the remaining of all ancient forests left on the planet
    ** 1,000 cubic feet of natural gas is approximately enough to meet the natural gas needs of an average home (space-heating, water-heating, cooking, etc.) for four days.
    *** the entire industry uses about 200% of the water Calgary uses presently
    **** Further, these ponds attract methanogenic bacteria, which gives off methane, a further greenhouse gas